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Difference between Male and Female Leadership Style

2 course IE 98a

Добреля О.В.


Ковалева Е.А.

DONETSK - 2000


INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………… 6

I. CHAPTER Leadership’s styles……………………………………. 7

II. CHAPTER Stereotypes about women employees…………………10

  1. CHAPTER Women and leadership……………………………...14

SUMMARY……………………………………………………………. 25

SELEKTED BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………….. 26


1. Illustration 1 ………………………………………………………22


  1. Table 1 ……………………………………………………………23

  2. Table 2 ……………………………………………………………24


After years of battling to change masculine corporate culture, executive women are voting with their feet. Many are going it alone as consultants or small business people; others are seeking new corporate employers with sound commitments to work-life balance and gender equality. Only in the last ten years has the male dominated world of business opened it’s doors to women – and only because it’s had to. Highly competitive markets can’t afford the luxury of discrimination.

In this work I want to assess the attitudes of women and men toward women leaders and to compare the leadership styles of women and men.

At the first chapter of this work presents a review of leadership. The discussion of leadership is general, but gives unusual attention to new developments in trait theory, which is interesting in an article about women leaders. Both women and men are in strong agreement that women can be successful leaders and as demonstrated by the standard deviations, there is strong agreement among both the women and the men on this question.

The second chapter examines the participation of men and women in the workforce, and in particular reviews of the position and status of women. On discrimination against women leaders, both women and men strongly agree that women leaders are discriminated against and there is very little difference of opinion among the women and men on this question, as shown by the standard deviations. It suggested way in which the domestic roll of women could be tackled more successfully in tandem with a managerial career.

The comparison of male and female leaders is a topic which has been reviewed and researched at the third chapter. Women and men strongly agree that women can be successful leaders and are discriminated against as leaders. The women and men agree that both have similar professional goals, and that they would select to work for a woman leader.

. In addition, this work was designed on the belief that awareness is the first step to change and that awareness levels need to be raised.

^ CHAPTER 1. Leadership’s styles.

Many individuals associate leadership with someone in charge, such as a manager. However, is it necessary for someone to have legitimate power to be a leader? It is possible not all people in power are leaders?...the answer to both questions is YES!

According to ^ Iain Denster, management refers to the process of getting activities completed through the utilisation of other people by planning, organising, controlling, problem-solving, etc. Conversely, leadership, which is also a process, is used to influence an organised group toward accomplishing its goals. Leadership is a social influence process shared among all members of a group and is not restricted to the influence exerted by someone in a particular position or role. In addition, followers are part of the leadership process

Transactional and Transformational

James MacGregor Burns defines transformational leadership as:

"The transforming leader recognises and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower. But, beyond that, the transforming leader looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower. The result of transforming leadership is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents".

The transactional leader is defined as one who clarifies the follower's role and task requirements, initiates structure, provides rewards and displays consideration for followers.

Transactional and transformational leaders are often discussed in the same context. Although they are quite similar, they have some distinct differences.

Transactional leaders take the initiative in making contacts with others for the purpose of an exchange of something of value. Transformational leaders are somewhat of an extension of transactional leaders, they are concerned with shifts in the needs, beliefs, and values of followers .

In comparing transformational and transactional leaders Avolio and Bass found five factors related to transformational and transactional leadership. Charisma, individualised consideration, and intellectual stimulation were correlated with transformational leadership style, while contingent reward and management-by-exception were correlated to transactional leadership style. In a more recent study by Howell and Avolio the authors compared key personality variables of leaders and found those who displayed less management by exception and less contingent reward, factors Avolio and Bass found to be characteristic of transactional leaders, and more individualised consideration, intellectual stimulation, and charisma, factors found to be characteristic of transformational leaders, positively contributed to the achievement of business-unit goals. Finally, Howell and Frost conducted a study comparing charismatic, structuring, and considerate leaders and measured how their leadership styles effected workers. The results revealed subjects working under charismatic leaders, a characteristic of transformational leadership style, demonstrated high task performance, task adjustment, and adjustment to the leader of the group.

Much of the literature in the area of transactional and transformational leadership has been primarily concerned with comparing the effects and the characteristics of these two types of leadership. However, Howell and Frost demonstrated it is possible to empirically measure charisma. In addition, Howell and Avolio empirically measured leader locus of control and support for innovation to define characteristics of leaders which contribute to the achievement of business-unit goals. These studies suggest it is possible to empirically differentiate the characteristics of transformational and transactional leaders.

It is possibly to divide leaders in this manner. If empirical tests can differentiate the characteristics of transformational and transactional leaders and show which type of leadership may be more effective, then it would be beneficial to the area of leadership theories and studies to divide leaders in this manner. Transformational leadership style appears to be a superior style of leadership in dealing with subordinates and their productivity levels. However, as some of the articles mention, future research is necessary in this area to determine which characteristics of these two leadership styles can be empirically studied and which style is superior.


One of the most common stereotypes is to view women in terms of their biology and reproductive abilities. Unlike men, beliefs about women and their roles four outside the workplace rather than inside. For instance, the prospect of women marrying and having children questions their permanency as employees, and results in organizations viewing their engagement as high risk, with a low return on investment in their training.

In middle years the additional responsibilities of having children are often assumed to be the major role of women. This leads to further beliefs regarding their assumed lack of time and ambition for senior positions. Women, for a period stretching over twenty years, could be perceived, as less reliable, less promotable and less ambition then men. Instead of stereotyping women and viewing them as a group with identical life patterns, it would clearly be more equitable to judge women individually.

In the workplace, there are many commonplace stereotypes about women employees. Women may be perceived as: an “earth-mother”; a counsellor figure; a ‘pet’ brightening up the place; ‘seductress’; a sex object; an ’iron-maiden’; a man hater.1 In addition, women who have made it to the top have to face other pressures concerned with their visibility and uniqueness. The token women has to contend with additional interest because of her gender and she may be excluded from social activities and male ‘chat’.

Some studies have focused on the behavioural characteristics of men and women, and have noted that women may be caught in a ‘double bind’. If they show typical feminine characteristics it is thought they do not have the ambition to go further; whereas if they demonstrate assertiveness and determination they can be considered to be too aggressive, pushy and masculine.

Although some organizations may discriminate, the perceptions of women are not always calculated: they are often made automatically and without conscious thought – in much the same way as we may be tricked by visual illusions. In fact, perceptual allusions are a very appropriate way of understanding the organizational processes affecting women.

The ‘Ames Room’ is relevant for this purpose2(see: Illustration1). This is a room of an irregular size with one of the far corners at a great distance than the other, although the room is arranged and decorated so that it gives the appearance of being rectangular. If two people of the same size stood in diagonally opposite corners, one in the furthest corner, and the other in the near corner, a visual illusion occurs whereby our perception of depth is ‘tricked’ to see the farthest away looking dramatically smaller.

By analogy it is possible to see the room as representing the culture of the organization surrounded by beliefs and traditions, rather like pictures on the wall. They seem reasonable, logical and appropriate. The individual standing at the farthest corner of the room could be seen as the female, the nearest the male. Both people are in the room surrounded by the culture; but one, the male, is nearest and most visible. He is perceived differently and advantageously, whereas the woman is perceived in a relatively inconsequential way. If the woman stays at the back of the room in an ancillary position, or leaves the room altogether, she is reinforcing the beliefs around the walls.

Some women, however, do become managers and these exceptional women would then join the male corner and would seem to become larger in size and more visible. However, the perceptual distortion is complete because the lone woman could be viewed as a ‘trick’, as an illusion. For the males, their position fits and they have only to prove their merit for a management post, and not that they are different from the norm. Their success will feed back into the system and reaffirm the beliefs that are held.

This illusion can be applied to any organizational setting. For example, even in hotels, which mirror the domestic world of women and should suit perfectly the alleged skills of women, a male ethic resides.3 The female manager is a typical, deviation from the norm, and women can be seen to be the disadvantaged gender group. Men and women are perceived very differently. Young, male trainees are expected and encouraged to do well, it is considered ‘normal’; whereas young women and their assumed needs are less likely to fit into the demands of the industry. Young women are expected to diversity and specialize.

For any organization to be effective it is imperative that the staff are competent to do their work and satisfy the ‘psychological contact’. One part of the management role is to select and train those people who they predict will perform successfully on the job, and then to monitor and assess their competence for future promotion. Accordingly, it clearly seems important for managers to be aware of their own prejudices and assumptions they hold of women. By opening channels and encouraging and developing all staff, trust might be fed back into the system from which equity could begin and stereotypes might end.

The common stereotyping of women draws attention to a particular aspect of people perception in the work organization – that of gender. This chapter examines the participation of men and women in the workforce, and in particular reviews the position and status of women.

A review of statistical evidence that the place where women work have not changed substantially and remain different in kind from male occupations. In essence, women are working in occupations which reflect their perceived role in society, and are generally found servicing and caring for others. It is recognized that many organizations are adopting equal opportunity policies and are seriously examining whether they are fulfilling the potential of all their staff. However, statistics reveal that progress is slow and the number of women holding senior managerial positions is still insignificant (see Table 1).

Recent reports have indicated that a ‘glass ceiling’ exists in many organizations preventing women from rising to the top. Changes were suggested by the Hansard Society Commission relating not only to working structures and practices which are seen as inflexible, but also to ‘outmoded attitudes about the role of women’.4 It suggested ways in which the domestic role of women could be tackled more successfully in tandem with a managerial career, and as such it did not challenge societal expectations of the dual role of women.

The report shows a mood of optimism and discussed good practices, and indicates that changes can happen when intention and action prevail. It should be noted, however, that the Commission found informal practices and unintentional insensitivities as being highly significant in limiting women’s opportunities. Reported changes were ones of improvement rather than any dramatic redress of women’s position. Given the difficulties already discussed in attitude change, and the pervasiveness of organizational culture in maintaining beliefs and values, such an approach might be seen as unrealistic.


The comparison of male and female leaders is a topic which has been reviewed, researched, and reported enormously throughout the years. The results of past studies on male versus female leaders have yielded results indicating that men are viewed as being more successful managers than women. In the past, women were not believed to posses the same qualities which are believed to be indicative of a good leader. However, in general, men have always been viewed as possessing these qualities. It has been believed these qualities, such as assertiveness, were only found in exceptional women. Therefore, only exceptional women were able to succeed in business. In 1989 Heilman et al. replicated some past studies on the effects of gender and leadership ability. Unfortunately, the results showed that women are still considered as lacking managerial characteristics which are associated with men. Overall, this study revealed attitudes toward women in management have not changed all that much since the early 1970s.

In 1990, Bulter and Geis conducted a study examining how individuals react to either a man or a woman assuming the leadership role during a group discussion. The study was conducted with the use of a common business game. The results revealed women received more negative than positive responses; whereas, men received equal positive and negative responses.

Another study conducted in 1990 by Eagly and Johnson compared leadership styles of men and women. The results revealed female leaders are more interpersonally oriented and tend to lead democratically. In comparison, males lead in an autocratic manner and have a tendency toward being more task-oriented than person-oriented. This study showed a definite difference in
the leadership styles of men and women but the authors did not provide an opinion as to which they believe is the best leadership style.

Powell (1990) took a different look at male and female styles of leadership. Powell proposed that sex differences in leadership may be common in the laboratory but are not supported in the field. The article proposed that women may require different managerial activities than men. Finally, Powell suggests women and men should be recommended for training programs according to their needs rather than their sex.

Finally, in 1995 Eagly, Karau & Makhijani conducted a study comparing the effectiveness of males and females in leadership roles. When roles are defined in masculine terms, men were viewed as being more effective. Conversely, women were viewed as more effective when in roles that were defined in less masculine terms. However, overall, the meta-analysis revealed that both male and female leaders were equally effective in their leadership styles.

Surprisingly, these studies reveal that the overwhelming opinion of females in leadership roles is viewed as much more ineffective than similar roles when they are occupied by males. It is amazing that in the twenty-plus years of leadership studies in relation to gender little changes have been found in perceptions of female versus male leaders. As women continue to occupy higher level positions in the workforce more recent studies will, hopefully, reveal a greater recognition of the female role in leadership. Unfortunately, even in the 1995 study by Eagly et al. in doesn't appear that the workforce is ready to accept, generally speaking, the contributions which female leaders can provide to our workforce. With the increasing recognition of the need for high levels of employee consideration among leaders, it is likely female leadership characteristics such as leading in an interpersonally oriented manner, may become more common.

Although more and more women are joining industry's ranks as sales managers, they'll have to tailor their management styles to the gender of their employees if they hope to have continued success. According to a study by a Purdue University professor and three colleagues at other universities, both female and male sales personnel are starting to welcome the newcomers. However, Lucette B. Comer, assistant professor of consumer sciences and retailing at Purdue, says there is a big difference between the management style male employees prefer and the management style that elicits their best performance.5 Comer and her colleagues sent questionnaires to a random sample of 45 individuals (15 female sales managers, 15 salesmen, 15 saleswomen) to find out if salesmen and saleswomen respond differently to the leadership styles of female sales managers. In particular, the researchers wanted to assess differences in salespersons' satisfaction with female supervision and differences in sales performance under female supervision. Comer and her colleagues identified two overall management styles used by sales managers. A transactional style is the more traditional of the two and is more typical of a male-oriented style of management. It relies on rewards and punishments to influence employees. Many of the managers are hands-off until something goes wrong. The philosophy is, ‘When you're doing OK, you won't even know I'm around. But, when you mess up, I'll be right next door.’ Women take a more hands-on approach. The transformational style is a more individual-oriented style. Women managers tend to motivate by encouragement and individual attention. They relate to their employees with emotion and faith, and tend to encourage new ways of thinking. Study results show that both men and women prefer a transformational, individual-oriented management style. “'Men reported an appreciation for the considerate attention they received,” Comer says. “It's possible that salesmen treat their work with female sales managers as an extended family or social relationship.”6 In other words, in order to deal with having a female boss, the men view their manager in a familiar, non-threatening role, such as a helpful mother or wife. Saleswomen, however, focused on the charismatic traits of their managers, rather than the considerate attention they received. Actually, women were relatively unmoved by considerate treatment. Charismatic leadership was valued above any other trait. Perhaps that's because charisma is a definable trait that employees can identify when looking for role models. Comer says she was surprised when performance levels were measured. It's interesting that although men reported a preference for a relational management style, they performed relatively poorly under those conditions. When left to their own devices, however, men thrived. Comer theorises that men are so used to the traditional management style, they can't function under what appears to them to be constant surveillance. Women, on the other hand, floundered terribly when they were left alone. That could be a reason women have had difficulty rising through the sales ranks to a sales manager position. Women have had a difficult time adapting to the traditional male-oriented management style. As women enter into sales manager positions, we'll see saleswomen becoming more productive, and more women will move up. But women sales managers won't be successful using an across-the-board transformational approach. If women want to be successful as industrial managers, they'll have to employ two very different management styles - one for men and one for women. What it comes down to is managing the individual instead of the position.

In the business world, the absence of women in part reflects the reluctance of male boards of directors to appoint women to top executive positions. Many men don’t want to work under female supervisors, which may heighten this resistance. There are many women in lower- and middle-level management. Over half of women, and almost 70 percent of women the age of 20 and 45, are in the labor force. Yet very few of these women have been appointed to the top management positions that have real decision-making power. Too often, their opportunities to move into such positions have been blocked by informal “glass ceiling” that limits how high women can move in the organisation.

Women in the corporate world encounter barriers that inhibit their opportunities to gain real power. In corporations with relatively few women managers, women in management are often responded to more as women than as managers, thus being deprived of the full opportunity to be evaluated and responded to on the basis of the work they do . As the number of women increases, male managers become more accustomed to women and treat them more as they would any other employee – up to a point. However, when the number of women begins to approach a majority, male workers often feel threatened, which may inhibit opportunities for the women workers. Until such attitudes change, women are not likely to fill many positions of real power.

There has been considerable interest both, in research and in practice, in woven in a leadership role. However, because the societal situation is changing so rapidly, earlier research on women leadership may no longer be relevant. After a recent comprehensive analysis of all aspect of women leaders, Bass concludes the following:

Despite the many continuing handicaps to movement into positions of leadership
owing to socialisation, status, conflict, and stereotyping, progress is being made.
…Characteristics that are usually linked to masculinity are still demanded for effective
management. Nevertheless, most in male and female leaders tend to be accounted for
by other controllable or modifiable factors.7

Bass is mainly summarising the research literature, but a key part of his statement is the initial words, “Despite the many continuing handicaps to movement into positions of leadership.” This may understate the still bleak situation of women in leadership roles.

As far as “glass ceiling” is concerned it is a sober reality. It alone should be enough to stimulate further research and interest in women and leadership. As far as differences between male and female leadership styles, three distinct points of view have emerged:

1.^ No differences: Women who pursue the nontraditional career of manager reject the feminine stereotype and have needs, values, and leadership styles to those of men who pursue managerial careers.

2.Stereotypical differences: Female and male managers differ in ways predicted by stereotypes, as a result of early socialization experiences that reinforce masculinity in males and femininity in females.

3.^ Nonstereotypical differences: Female and male managers differ in ways opposite to stereotypes, because women managers have to be exceptional to compensate for early socialization experiences that are different from those of men.8

Powell conducted a comprehensive review of the research literature to determine the level of support for each of the above three positions in terms of behavior, motivation, commitment, and subordinates’ responses (see: Table 2).

There is little reason to believe that either women or men make superior managers, or that women and men are different types of managers. Instead, there are likely to be excellent, average, and poor managerial performers within each sex. Success in today’s highly competitive marketplace calls for organizations to make best use of the talent available to them. To do this, they need to identify, develop, encourage, and promote the most effective managers, regardless of sex. So many of us so confused about gender. There are women trying to act like men. More recently, there are men trying to act like women. It will not work. The only way to be powerfully successful, whether you are a man or a woman, is to be who you are.

Men and women are fundamentally different when it comes to the use of power, interaction style, focus of attention and comfort zone. While both men and women are likely to hold the same values in these areas, there is often a difference in the priority they will give a value.

So, while women see power in terms of equality, men are more likely to equate power with status. When interacting, women seek agreement, men seek competition. Women are also more likely to focus on feelings, while men will focus on actions and objects. Likewise, women's comfort zone is based on interdependence, while men's is based around autonomy.

1 Cooper, C. and Davidson, M. (1982). ^ High Pressure: Working Lives of Women Managers. Fontana.

2 Ames, A., ed. (1951) Visual Perception and the Rotating Trapezoidal Window (Vol. 65, no. 7). Psychological Monographs.

3 Hicks, L. (1991). ^ Gender and Culture: A Study of the Attitudes Displayed by Managers in the Hotel World. Unpublished doctoral thesis,. University of Surrey.

4 “Women at the Top.” (1990). The Hansard Sociey.

5 Lucette, B. C. (1995). “Difference Between the Management Style.” ^ Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management,17, 156-60.

6 Lucette, B. C. (1995). “Difference Between the Management Style.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management,17, 156-60.

7 Bernard, Bass. (1990). Bass & Stodgill’s Handbook of Leadership. New York: Free Press.

8 Powel, G. (1990). “One More Time: Do Female and Male Managers Differ?” ^ Academy of Management Executive, 9, p.69.



It is dangerous to generalize, but there are difference between men and women in management style – not in skill but in style. We can not ignore a million years of history – at the office or in the living room. “Men hunt, women gather.”

I believe that “gathering” is at the crux of how women view and use power differently from men. Men have tended to demonstrate a “go for kill” mentality. They try to get as much as possible through pressure, intimidation, and sheer desire to defeat at any cost whoever is sitting across the table from them. Men are oriented toward power, toward making fast decisions in a black-or-white mode. Men come to the negotiating table in full battle armor.

Women have tended to prefer searching for common interests, solving problems, and collaborating to find win outcomes. They are more skilled at relationships.

Many companies, that women admire today, are also those that depend increasingly on female attributes. It is all about getting close to customer, striking up joint ventures, partnering with suppliers. But power goes to the partners who generate the most business – which usually means a group of men. Women do become partners, but often don’t make as much money as her male counterparts, because men don’t always refer business to women.

Women become more comfortable with using their own style as a way to move forward; they didn’t have to act “just like men” anymore. As they began to define power as the ability to influence their environment to suit their needs, they began to rely upon their innate abilities to achieve this power. Women much more naturally than men, enjoy collaborating – defying the boundaries of age, status, rank and race.


1. Ames, A., ed. (1951) Visual Perception and the Rotating Trapezoidal Window (Vol. 65, no. 7). Psychological Monographs.

2. Bernard, Bass. (1990). Bass & Stodgill’s Handbook of Leadership. New York: Free Press.

3. Cooper, C. and Davidson, M. (1982). High Pressure: Working Lives of Women Managers. Fontana.

4. Calhoun, C., Ligh, D., Keller, S. (1994). Sociology. New York etc.: McGraw – Hill.

5. “Dual-Career Couples Want Freedom and Control”. (1999, March). Advancing Women in Leadership.

6. Hicks, L. (1991). Gender and Culture: A Study of the Attitudes Displayed by Managers in the Hotel World. Unpublished doctoral thesis,. University of Surrey.

7. Karanian, B., (1999). Gendere and Leadership: Men and Women’s Stories.

8. Kehler, J. (1998). “Nine Principles for Effective Leadership” Women Today Magazine.

9. Lougheed, J. (1998). “ Attitudes Toword Women Leaders Analyzed by Gender and Occupations.” Advancing Women in Leadership.

10. Lucette, B. C. (1995). “Difference Between the Management Style.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management,17, 156-60.

11. Luthans, Fred. (1992). Organizational Behavior. New York etc, : McGraw - Hill.

12. Muoio, A. (1998). “Women and Men, Work and Power” Women Today Magazine.

13. Mullins, L. I. (1993). Management and Organizational Behavior. London: Pitman.

14. Powel, G. (1990). “One More Time: Do Female and Male Managers Differ?” Academy of Management Executive, 9, p.69.

15. “Women at the Top.” (1990). The Hansard Society.


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